In a recent article from Management Association, Mary Lynn Fayoumi talks about the importance of HR professionals having good sales skills. She speaks about the necessity of “selling” great talent on coming to work for you.
In a competitive marketplace, where specialized skills and experience are increasingly important, the ability of hiring managers to differentiate themselves and their company is critical.
If we surveyed HR professionals, asking them to define what a successful salesperson must do well, I suspect that articulating the company’s value proposition would rank very high. The question is how? The best salespeople help the client to discover that core business issues and unforeseen consequences make the value proposition important.
Salespeople often start off in the right direction, but then quickly find themselves in presentation mode. The result is a loss of control and differentiation. I believe that HR professionals suffer from the same problem.
My experience is that far too many HR executives underappreciate the science, art and difficulty of professional selling. They can articulate the business case, cost and impact of underperforming salespeople. They understand the opportunity cost of turnover, but they really don’t “get” salespeople and, in too many cases, underappreciate the difficulty of the sales job. This probably isn’t surprising since most CEO’s have the same challenge because they’re from the finance, operations and/or technical side. HR professionals also happen to spend a lot of time interacting with vendors who often don’t live up to expectations.
What makes salespeople different?
- They are usually highly emotional and sometimes volatile people.
- They are not good at being introspective.
- Asking for help is typically a weakness.
- Compliance is not in their vocabulary.
- Most are fairly self-absorbed.
- They love teamwork when they are in control of the team.
- They should ask questions which make prospects uncomfortable.
- Details are not that important.
- The good ones fight when prospects say no.
What percentage of these traits do you think HR professionals possess? More importantly, how many look for these attributes when hiring great employees and how does this affect the sales talent recruitment?